COMMUNITY LEADER: Keith Dunne made a significant contribution to cricket in Hervey Bay.
COMMUNITY LEADER: Keith Dunne made a significant contribution to cricket in Hervey Bay. Contributed

TRIBUTE: Sad loss of Hervey Bay cricket pioneer

A MINUTE of silence will be held on the weekend for one of the pioneers of the Hervey Bay Cricket Association.

Raymond Dunne, better known in the community as Keith, was a pivotal part of forming the cricket association in Hervey Bay and his efforts were recognised when a Urangan oval was named in his honour.

He died on February 6 aged 83 years and his funeral was held in Hervey Bay yesterday.

Allan Embrey was there when the association first got together to promote cricket in the region and he is still a part of the association today.

He has fond memories of Keith, who got involved with the association because his son, also named Raymond, was a keen cricketer.

In those days, Keith would prepare a pitch on the hockey fields for the young players.

But as both sports continued to grow throughout the 1970s, the cricket association was allotted the land in Urangan for their matches.

Keith, Allan and other dedicated members of the association worked hard on the oval and the cricket pitch, with the decision ultimately made to name the venue in Keith's honour.

Allan was president of the association at the time and said Keith wouldn't have worried either way about this acknowledgement - he did the work for the kids and his son.

He has especially fond memories of Keith piling the kids into the back of his ute so they could play matches in Maryborough.

"He was a humble guy," Allan said.

A fitter and turner by trade, Keith would work on the equipment needed to maintain the pitch, saving the association plenty of money over the years.

Allan said a minute of silence would be held in his honour at the match this Saturday, with the players set to wear black armbands in Keith's memory.

Pat Thornton, also a member of the association in the early days, said he was an easy person to get along with.

"He was very quiet," she said.

She remembers Keith bring nominated for an award by the Hervey Bay City Council many years ago.

As a shy person, his family had to trick him to going to the ceremony.

Keith's daughter Karen Coates said her dad and mum Audrey would have celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary in March this year and his loss was keenly felt by the family.

Keith and Audrey owned and operated a service station on the corner of Boat Harbour Drive and Main St in Karen's younger years, also living at the property.

Later on Keith drove the school bus to River Heads.

A keen golfer, he was known to sneak in a few rounds before returning to pick the kids up later in the day.

"He loved doing it," Karen said.

"He loved the kids and they thought he was great."